“squat toilets + leaping cockroaches = unhappy expats”

Check out the great blogs at MSF Canada. The quote in the title came from Made in Bangladesh by Julia Payson. James Maskalyk is also writing sublime postings.

My mom asked me, “How come MSF Canada’s volunteers get to blog and you couldn’t?” The answer is just a matter of comfort level with the new medium. Like all organizations have in the last few years, MSF is currently digesting what blogs mean and how they can be used. It is not much of a surprise to me that MSF Canada, some of whose volunteers work at MSF Holland, would be ahead of the curve on this one. Canada is a small place full of curious people. Of course they are going to experiment with blogs!

If I continue to work with MSF Switzerland, perhaps I can help them see how blogging can help recruitment. I have already corresponded with four or five potential MSF volunteers based on my blog!

April Fools!

Here’s a new book from two great guys in the Unix/Internet/Cranky-old-bastards community (of which I am apparently a member, based on the third category).

The Complete April Fools RFCs by Thomas A. Limoncelli and Peter J. Salus. You an buy it on Amazon here.

According to Tom:

This is a compilation of the best April Fools jokes created by the
IETF, the group that creates the standards for how the Internet
works. It’s pretty technical but fun to read for anyone that is
in software development, system administration, or any kind of
computer geek. A good, cheap, gift for the geek that has everything
and is impossible to shop for.

Getting Podcasts out to the Bush

Here’s my problem. I work for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). I go out to the bush for 6 months and have only very low bandwidth access to e-mail, so no podcasts! It gets lonely and boring out there sometimes. We try to bring things with us to entertain ourselves, but it’s never really enough, and it is not topical. In MSF we are lucky that it is fairly easy to get postal mail, because we have a lot of people coming and going from the field, and a well developed system of “pony express” mail.

So, the problem statement comes down to this: can I make it possible for a busy friend with not a lot of spare time, or my mother (a Mac user, but not a very tech savvy one) to burn a CD or a DVD every few weeks full of podcast content (audio and video)? If so, then they can drop it in the mail to MSF, and MSF can get it to me… delayed by several weeks, but better late than never.

I know that the podcast audio and video are right there on disk for the taking and that you can do this by hand. But I’m talking about a user friendly system which says, “I’ve got another 600 megs of stuff ready for Jeff, want to burn it now?” and so on. And I’d like to be able to recommend the system to my fellow MSF volunteers so that their family can send them customized CD’s too.